By AHMED UBANDOMA
Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), has threatened to seal off public facilities and organisations that do not comply with the commission’s accessibility laws.
Lalu said the law mandates organisations and other business premises to make their facilities accessible to persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
“Failure to comply, the law also mandated us to seal the organisations through law enforcement agencies.
He was speaking on Wednesday when he received the Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, in Abuja.
“It is no longer an option for organisations to comply with the accessibility laws because we would enforce it.
“They will see our compliance and enforcement officers visiting their offices by the time the law takes its full effect, we will go all out with our media, our securities to make sure that every office comply.
“Though, the law provides a transition period of five years, that is from January 2019 to January 2024,” Lalu said.
He said that the law provided for a national regulation on accessibility in Nigeria to every public building by January 2024 to make their facilities accessible to persons with disabilities
“Anything in short of that, we are mandated by law to go and seal up any facilities that do not comply with the law.
Lalu, however, NAPTIP is a critical partner towards achieving Nigeria’s desire for equal opportunities for the disability community in Nigeria.
“This is evident in the agency’s conversion of its policy documents into assistive devices especially for the blind to enable them gets acquainted with the workings of the agency, he said.
He also commended the commitment of the NAPTIP boss towards providing the relevant laws that ensures access to justice for the disability community.
“We remain very grateful to you and we are committed to sanitise the system to guarantee better future for Persons With Disabilities,” he said.
In her response, Prof. Waziri-Azi, expressed the deliberate attempt by NAPTIP towards disability inclusion.
She said the agency is determined to ensure effective mainstreaming of the issues of visibility of persons with disabilities into the running of the organisation.
“We are very deliberate about disability inclusivity and about issues of visibility into our everyday work into our everyday processes and also across our five strategic prevention protection competition partnership,” she said.
Waziri-Azi said the agency had already make their facilities accessible to persons with disabilities in the last five years.
She said in addition to that, the agency allocated five percent employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in the agency.
“I have the drafting team that came up with that and in the past few years we have been able to make our building at the headquarters accessible.
“We have ramps just at the main entrance into the NAPTIP office, we also have ramps in the main Building and our rapid response code at the back has also been fitted with a ramp,” she said.
She therefore assured the commission of her readiness for partnership to ensure mutual benefit for the two organisations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, the event featured presentation of some official documents called NAPTIP Red Card, NAPTIP Act, NAPTIP Violence against Persons Prohibition Act.
NAN also reports that, the documents was all converted into a readable format for the blind community in Nigeria (NAN)